© Herald photo by Tyler Clarke
Rubena Wenzel, 99, holds up her driver’s licence, which although valid until 2015 she no longer uses to drive, having given up her vehicle this spring.
At 99 years of age, Rubena Wenzel still holds a valid driver’s licence, although she’s without a vehicle to practise her driving rights.
“My children, in their wisdom, took my car away from me early this spring and they wouldn’t let me drive last winter, so I really haven’t had a car since October of last year,” she explained, noting that her licence won’t expire until 2015.
Although she said that being without her 1989 Buick Century can be “very inconvenient” at times, the Prince Albert and District Community Service Centre’s seniors transportation program has helped keep her active.
When asked to be this year’s Mary for the 26th Annual Two Miles for Mary seniors transportation radioathon fundraiser, she jumped at the chance.
“It was an honour to be asked, I felt, and besides if I can do something to represent their organization I was willing to do it,” she said.
At $4 a ride, it’s much more affordable to use the seniors transportation program than to call a cab, she said, noting that she’d recently dialed a cab to play bridge at Pineview Terrace Lodge -- a trip that cost her $14.
“Besides, the drivers are quite helpful in seniors transportation,” she said. “They know most of us are using canes, so they’ll help us into the car and make sure we’re not tripping over our feet.”
Born in the Colleston area east of Prince Albert down Highway 302, Wenzel gradated from Prince Albert Collegiate Institute in 1933.
On graduation she became a legal secretary -- a job she put on hold after she got married, at which time she became a stay-at-home mother to four children.
Her husband, Ernest, was a 21-year member of the RCMP, during which time he manned a number of one-member RCMP stations throughout Saskatchewan, including such places as Lac La Ronge, Big River and Hudson Bay.
During this time, Wenzel served as her husband’s backup -- an effort that was recognized this year when the lieutenant governor presented her a “Second Man Award.”
The drivers are quite helpful in seniors transportation ... They know most of us are using canes, so they’ll help us into the car and make sure we’re not tripping over our feet. Rubena Wenzel
“It was a great honour,” she said, noting her husband died in 1987.
At a one-man detachment, Wenzel notes that “they’re not always home. They’re out patrolling or picking up someone or going to the scene of a crime, and we had to answer the phone, answer the door and guard a prisoner … and keep the detachment area tidy and clean.”
After Ernest retired in 1953, Wenzel took correspondence classes to become an insurance adjustor. The couple opened a shop in Prince Albert -- an effort they continued until retiring for good in 1974.
Although retired, she’s far from inactive. In fact, it’s rare that a person on the cusp of becoming a centenarian remains as active as she has.
Every Tuesday she joins a group of senior ladies for a round of golf at Fairview Golf Course, which she describes as “one of the nicest little golf courses in the area.”
Joining an 82-year-old friend, she tees off an hour early so they don’t hold up the rest of the ladies, allowing them time for a break mid-round.
On Friday morning, Wenzel will join a table of past Marys at the Heritage Centre, which is at the westernmost section of the Margo Fournier Centre, north of the Gateway Mall.
A breakfast will be available, by donation, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., during which the annual radioathon will take place on Country 900 CKBI Radio.
During the radioathon, funds can be donated through calling 763-MARY (6279).
For more on the seniors transportation program, visit its official website by clicking HERE.
For an article by reporter Dave Leaderhouse on Wenzel's weekly round of golf, click HERE.